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I’m afraid to file anything with immigration because I don’t want to expose my spouse who is living here without valid immigration papers. What can I do?

You have to weigh the pros and cons of starting your immigration case.  If you are requesting a full copy of your spouse’s immigration file to determine what options may be available to your spouse, this usually does not result in a referral to ICE to pick up your spouse. However, nothing is guaranteed.  Keep in mind that ICE’s priority of those immigrants to pick up are aggravated felons, people who have served jail time but a been released and not picked up by immigration yet, those who have overstayed deportation orders, and frequent immigration law violators.  We have no indication from the many filings that we have filed with Customs and Border Protection, the Immigration Court, and CIS to obtain for copies of files that ICE is ever referred in these circumstances.  They just don’t have the time to talk with other agencies after records are pulled in most circumstances. 

As always, you have to weigh the pros and cons of doing nothing and being picked up and having no paperwork filed or no case path started and then having to start your case outside the United States where maybe extremely difficult to accomplish or even impossible depending on the immigration damage that’s been done already. I know it can be scary to file anything. There is inherent risk in doing so, not knowing the eventual outcome of a case but you can take certain measures to ensure that you have the strongest case possible in your circumstances to improve your chances of approval and make sure you are represented by an experienced, reputable immigration attorney, who can respond on your behalf to CIS and ICE in the worst case scenario.